NEW DELHI: A private member’s bill on decriminalisation of homosexuality, moved by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, could not hold its ground in the Lok Sabha on Friday with a majority of the members voting against its introduction. The introduction of the bill was defeated by 71-24 votes. The bill sought an amendment to the IPC to “substitute a new section for Section 377 of the IPC”.
The first opposition came from BJP member Nishikant Dubey, who said he was opposing the bill not because of religion, Vedas or Puranas but because of the Supreme Court judgment. The apex court had in December 2013 overturned a Delhi High Court verdict setting aside Section 377 of the IPC and directed the government to take a view on the controversial subject of decriminalising homosexuality. The Delhi High Court in 2009 ruled that Section 377 was unconstitutional.
Tharoor, however, insisted on going ahead with the introduction of the bill arguing that Dubey was quoting only “partially” from the Supreme Court judgment. He was supported by Biju Janata Dal’s Tathagata Satpathy.
When Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai put the motion to vote, it was negated by 71 ‘noes’ against 24 ‘ayes’. Tharoor tweeted later: “Intro of Pvt.Member’s Bill 2 decriminalize consensual sex btwn consenting adults defeated in LS 71-24. Surprising to see such intolerance. Notice of intent to oppose introducn of Bill came so late there was no time 2 rally support. Will try again in future. We shall overcome!”.
Speaker takes ‘note’ of unruly mps
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Friday lost her cool at Congress members agitating and directed officials to note down the names of the MPs who were raising slogans. When the House assembled for the day, Congress MPs insisted on an immediate discussion on Arunachal Pradesh. When the Speaker disallowed their notices for adjournment, the MPs trooped into the well of the House and raised slogans throughout Question Hour. A visibly irritated Speaker said members who wanted to raise issues should at least give “substantive” notice.